Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OSS mission to Vietnam 1945

On Tom Ricks’ blog, in the comments section, in response to the quote about the Vietnam War, a person whose username is FG42 posted the following.
I wonder how many people know about the OSS mission to Vietnam in 1945. A team of 7 OSS soldiers parachuted into North Vietnam in 1945 to help the local guerillas fight the Japanese and to rescue downed American pilots. The team was known as "Deer Team," and they worked closely with the Viet Minh (the precursor of the Viet Cong resistance)....and with their two leaders, Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. There are period photos showing the American soldiers sitting around with Ho and Giap, and the OSS vets told of long "bull sessions" with them about many things, including the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, etc., etc. When WW2 ended and the Vietnamese declared their independence from colonial France, Ho included language from the American Declaration of Independence. Ho wrote letters to President Truman requesting the support of the US for the independence of Vietnam. And the OSS Deer Team sent reports up the chain of command saying that Ho was more a nationalist than a communist, and that the Viet Minh was mainly concerned with getting rid of French colonialism. Of course, those communications either never got to Washington, or they were ignored by the powers-that-be. The result is what we all knew. The US stepped into the French shoes and fought a tragic war, which was so costly to both sides and so unnecessary.
There was a Deer Team that did go to Vietnam at the end of World War II. And Ho Chi Minh really did use language similar to what is found in the Declaration of Independence. Presumably, he did that in an attempt to persuade America to become his ally against the French. That was his way of saying, “We are like you. We believe in the same things you believe. Help us.” Unfortunately, ideals are not that important when it comes to the policies adopted by our government.

America justified the Vietnam War as a war against Communism. But I believe, as the above comment suggests, the war was really about kicking the French out of Indochina. And by the way, despite what we said publicly, I believe we intervened in Vietnam to extend western dominance over that country.

Whoops.

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